Everybody who’s paying attention this last Sunday in July 2012 knows the bad and good news today about Houston Astros baseball.
The bad news is that the Astros set a franchise record for most consecutive losses on Saturday night when they lost again at home to the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was their third straight loss to the Buccos and their twelfth defeat in a row. Not a very pleasant sight. It’s like watching the Astros take their lst swim in the National League pool with an anvil tied to each team leg.
“The better to sink you with, oh, dear!”
The good news is Jeff Luhnow. As the Astros’ new general manager since prior to this final NL season, Jeff told us exactly what he was going to do – and now he’s doing it. All of it. Luhnow told us he was going to rebuild our farm system and also unload some heavy salaries for prospects by the July 31st trading deadline. What he’s done is exactly what he told us he was going to do – only he took care of the big unloading of veterans far sooner than the July 31st deadline.
Gone are Carlos Lee, Brett Myers, Jay Happ,, Brandon Lyon, Wandy Rodriguez and a short boat load of lesser lights,and he has captured some good sounding prospects from other clubs in exchange for the veteran baggage. He also continues to pick up piecemeal guys to help in the short-term, acquiring relievers like Chuckie Fick and utility players like Steve Pearce to both fill the immediate talent holes while also infusing the roster with players that haven’t been caught up in the recent downward collapse of the team. Bill Brown and Jim DeShaies hit on that point last night in the post-game tv show and I couldn’t agree more. Luhnow understands that he is now as GM “the straw that stirs the drink” when it comes to not letting the 2012 brew become so bitter that the whole roster collapses on itself posting a “how are we going to lose today” ticket. Until the club gets better. any new player infusions needs to temperamentally also be firemen – and not fire-setters or gasoline can providers.
These are the dark ages for Astros fans, but GM Jeff Luhnow is on it. I can’t wait to see what he does next – or how the club is going to be playing by 2015. I think we are in good hands and will be in for a treat.
Here’s to Astros principal owner Jim Crane and President George Postolos for bringing Jeff Luhnow to Houston. We think you did good, guys. I still don’t like the way you handled the release of Tal Smith, but I do think you deserve credit for picking a very bright and savvy young mind in Jeff Luhnow as our next Astros baseball operations leader. As General Manager, Jeff Luhnow’s forthrightness and transparency has pretty much laid out the game plan for the whole world to see: (1) Cut excess where it can cut; (2) rebuild the farm system; (3) use multiple sources of intuitive, evaluative, and statistical information in assigning value to prospects and contract players; and (4) work to be back in contention within three to five seasons or sooner.
As fans, we’ve now seen the yardstick and been given a time frame for success. Now all we have to do is keep supporting the Astros as we wait for Jeff’s cake to bake. Just ask Jeff to activate that little oven bell that goes off when the job is done. You will save everyone who works for the Astros a whole lot of grief from all the “are we there yet” questions that are bound to start coming your way from fans by the start of the 2015 spring training period at latest.
Thanks again, Jeff, and good luck.